Kinkaku-ji: The Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan

I just thought that I should start the journey to 500 with something … golden.

Whenever I go to a country, I don’t ever jump immediately to those places I dream of going to or those popular or must-go-to places that everyone loves. When I was in California for three years, I always wanted to visit Yosemite, but I went only 2 months before I left the state. When I was in Greece, I visited Athens a month before leaving Crete.


When you visit tourist places in Japan, it’s inevitable that you would see people wearing the kimonos. It’s good picture that I always want to capture.  It gets frustrating sometimes when you can’t get things done, especially when there’s so many distractions around. Just like in life. But I don’t force things to happen. If I get it, great! If I don’t, oh well.


It’s part of my chips-fall-where-they-may, happy-go-lucky kind of me. I remember when I was in Italy where everyone was going out of town to visit all these famous cities and I would only go to lesser known, nearby places.


That is just me. I let things to sit. I anticipate. I let it brew and percolate, like a coffee. I don’t want great things come so easily. I like to dream a little more. I like to imagine more. So when I finally get to taste it, it would be so much more delicious.


When I achieve something really good, after I become successful with something, I go… now what? I let my guard down. I become complacent. That is when I stop dreaming.


Kyoto is a place I heard so much about. It’s one of my most coveted dream places in Japan, but not THE most. 😉 There are many times or opportunities that I could have gone here earlier but I didn’t or couldn’t. Took me 6 months of being in Japan before coming here. There are so many people there. You can’t escape it, in touring the places and in taking picture of the places. And there are so many people on their kimonos here, even other traditional outfit. I’ve been in Japan for 6 months, and I just couldn’t get a shot of people in their kimonos. Here I was in a city where there were so many of them, I was getting frustrated that I couldn’t get a good shot. I told myself it’s okay, that I got time in the world. I’ll get it someday, somewhere.



It was here at The Golden Pavilion that I get to do it. It felt like my quest for that photo overshadow my dream of coming here. It felt satisfying and kind of awful at the same time; that my drive to photographing was taking over my passion for travelling. Oh well, I always admit to consider myself as a tourist anyways.


Kinkaku-ji has been rebuilt numerous times. It is so beautiful that it was burnt by a young monk.  This monk was a stutterer and considered himself ugly. It wasn’t by envy that he burned it, but because of its perceived beauty. He adored its beauty so much, he became obsessed with it and by it. Because he knew this kind of beauty so much, he lost his own self-esteem. Being made fun of because of his stuttering didn’t help either. Even when a girl waited for him, he had lost his confidence. He would reference its beauty on how he saw all other things, how he perceived the world. The beauty beguiled and encapsulated him. In his head, the destruction of The Golden Pavilion would free him. He waited, he hoped that the war would take it down the ground. So when it escaped the bombings during the war, he finished the job himself. At his trial, the stammering priest said that his hatred of all beauty had driven him to destroy the six-century-old building. He expressed no regrets.

So now what?

PS: The whole path in viewing the temple goes only one way. That means you cannot turn around to go back to wander around or take more pictures.

Categories: Japan, Travel, writing

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40 replies »

      • Rommel I was so honored to be in your 400th post and have enjoyed some new visitors at my blog visiting the Calif. quail post since you published it. I was very excited to view your video and began, but had numerous tech. difficulties in the transmission due to internet prob. I made the attempt four different times from dif. equip. without success, but I am still trying and have a new plan. Please know I was very honored & look forward to viewing your beautiful work. I read all the comments & know it is lovely. I am in awe of your talents, and happy to be a part of it…I just live remotely and have internet limitations. 🙂

  1. I lived in England for 6 years and always told myself I would make it to Ireland….haven’t been yet….I feel like you although, at times, I wish I had been a bit more proactive!

    • I had a lot of those “regrets” when I was in Italy. I always think about those things, but really can’t dwell on those because I’m still very grateful to have been in Italy. 😉 And ever since, I’ve learn from that mistake. I did learn to be a bit more proactive.

  2. We only made it to Kyoto ourselves this year. It was Naia’s first international trip, at 5 months old. 🙂 And we loved it there…yes, it’s touristy but with good reason. Still mellow enough to be enjoyable though. I’d seen so many pics of Kinkakuji before visiting it, that I wasn’t overly excited…but I was blown away. It was much better in person than in pics. A rare thing indeed these days…

    • That’s kind of the deal with Kyoto. I’m torn because it really is touristy, but the places of interest really are worth wrestling with crowd. 🙂

  3. What a serene place! You did a good job of keeping too many folks out of your camera. I love the rear views of the ladies. 🙂 🙂 So what happened to the unfortunate young man? Prison sentence?

    • You have no idea how crowded it can get. The crowd would be the topic for my Kyoto post in the future. I actually don’t know what sentence the man get. I really got interested with the story. I read general information on the story and also read book excerpts and some articles, and I even watched a video clip of the movie. But I never really get to find out what happened to the monk afterwards.

  4. I love this post because it had both your photographs and your feelings about how you felt taking them and everything in between. The first shot with the girl’s back to the camera is so so beautiful 😍

    And I know I’ve said this before but every single time I read that you have been to all these countries and places, it makes my heart flutter and wanna do the same 😦

    • Same thing with me with other travel blogs. I had so many travel dreams, but I’m already rich with it that I can’t be greedy. 😀 I’ll go wherever life takes me. 😉

  5. O, are you in Kansai now? I live in Nara, and I have a plan to go to Kyoto this month. How long do you stay?

    If you want to talk a person (me) who is bad at speaking English, I’ll glad to have your emails.

    My name is Naba. 😀

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